The Polish Premier Implied To German Media That Warsaw Is Challenging Berlin For Influence
There’s no doubt that Poland is on the rise as a regional European power, which it’s taking maximum advantage of to assault German prestige on all fronts.
The Polish-German geostrategic rivalry for influence over Central & Eastern Europe (CEE), which is a significant proxy theater for their larger rivalry over the future of the EU as a whole, has returned as a result of the latest US-provoked phase of the Ukrainian Conflict. Its seeds were already sown in the several years prior, though, after Germany joined the US to wage a joint Hybrid War on Poland aimed at punishing its ruling “Law & Justice” (PiS per its Polish abbreviation) party for its conservative-nationalist values that have since proven to have been largely superficial due to its stance towards refugees.
The US has since jumped ship from that particular Hybrid War campaign for the most part by now tacitly siding with Poland in its own Hybrid War on Germany. Washington and Warsaw are aiming to bankrupt Berlin after having tricked its leaders into supporting the counterproductive anti-Russian sanctions that’ll in turn eliminate the economic dimension of its strategic autonomy and thus result in perpetuating America’s recently restored hegemony over Europe. Poland believes that this is the only way to stop the impending completion of Germany’s century-long plot to capture control of the EU.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki very strongly implied to German media during his exclusive interview with Der Spiegel that Warsaw is indeed challenging Berlin all across Europe, which is one of the most high-profile confirmations yet of this newly returned historical fault line. Of pertinence to the argument that the Polish-German geostrategic rivalry veritably exists, it should be pointed out that Morawiecki contrasted his country’s rapid and comprehensive support for Kiev with its neighbor’s comparatively much more sluggish and partial aid.
According to him, “Berlin's hesitation, its inaction, seriously calls into question the value of the alliance with Germany. And we are not the only ones saying that. I am hearing this from quite a few other heads of government in Europe, as well.” This hints that many CEE leaders are criticizing Germany to him behind Berlin’s back, which by extension suggests that they’re all colluding to various extents to collectively expand their influence at this unofficial EU leader’s expense. It was predictable that Poland would seek hegemony over the “Three Seas Initiative” (3SI) states, and it’s clearly making progress.
Despite some significant setbacks in the de facto confederation that it agreed to with Ukraine in late May, most of which were brought about by Germany exploiting Poland as its puppet in that former Soviet Republic until Warsaw finally wised up to the game being played against it, this aspiring CEE leader has nevertheless succeeded in organizing an emerging coalition of sorts around itself. It’s masterfully manipulated perceptions about the conflict to expose German values as hypocritical, which weakened its rival’s soft power and thus strengthened its own by contrast.
Furthermore, Morawiecki reiterated his country’s twisted position towards Germany’s prior energy cooperation with Russia in his latest interview to misportray it as having “inflicted tremendous damage on Europe.” These factors combined to result in the Polish premier bragging to his interlocutor about the Visegrad-centric regional coalition that it’s assembled with Bulgaria and Romania. Despite not mentioning the Baltic States, they’re obviously part of this emerging center of influence as well. As for Hungary, however, it’s at odds with Poland over their divergent approaches to Russia.
Even so, there’s no doubt that Poland is on the rise as a regional European power, which it’s taking maximum advantage of to assault German prestige on all fronts. The latest move is its reparations demand, which Morawiecki said he’ll seek Israeli support for. He also promised that “We will go all around the world to present the report, which takes into account not only human and material losses, but also that of cultural assets.” In other words, he’s turning this into a global campaign against German soft power that’s being waged from a compelling moral angle to deal a death blow to Berlin’s image.
Observers shouldn’t forget, however, that there are also geopolitical motives behind these demands. Poland’s attempts to revise one of the ultimate outcomes of World War II are aimed at opening Pandora’s Box along its eastern borders for the purpose of stirring trouble with Russian-allied Belarus while also accelerating its de facto confederation with Ukraine. Moreover, they could also lead to copycat claims from Warsaw’s new CEE “junior partners”, all with the intent of creating a critical mass of anti-German sentiment for challenging Berlin at the EU level.
Altogether, the importance of Morawiecki’s latest interview with Der Spiegel lies with the heavily implied intent that he conveyed to that leading publication about Poland’s plans to comprehensively challenge Germany for leadership of CEE and the EU as a whole. This historical European fault line has once again returned to the attention of observers after it became impossible to deny following the Polish leader’s sharply worded condemnation of Germany. It remains unlikely that this rivalry will turn hot yet again, though that doesn’t mean that it still might not destabilize Europe in its own way.